And the question certainly was relevant on the Friday evening that Co. and I visited Caillebotte, the relatively new offspring of Franck Baranger (the chef), and Edouard Bobin's popular venue Le Pantruche. Located not far from the Gare St. Lazare and the Grandes Boulevards in the South Pigalle district, you are guaranteed to get lost if you follow Google maps. I speak from experience. By the way, the Friday evening in question was Feb. 14th, better known as St. Valentine's Day. Well into our meal, as I gazed lovingly into Co.'s deep, dark eyes, she looked at me and whispered, "It isn't very romantic."
Well, enough complaining, if there's one thing that definitely recommends Caillebotte, it's the one thing that really matters - the food. And here I had no complaints. For a 3-course 35€ menu (plus - and I guess I can complain as I am wont to do when this element rears its ugly head - some supplements), the quality was well up to par. Here's the barely visible carte from the evening of our visit:
|click to enlarge|
Round one, the entrees, went to your's truly with the poulpes - a unique combination of egg yolk, mushroom cream, chantilly fumee, etc. Excellent. Co.'s salade de legume d'hiver was less impressive, and pretty sparse when it came to the key ingredient that lured her in that direction, the smoked eel. Still, pretty tasty with the chevre and parmesan crumble.
|Salsifis aux poulpes de roche (+2€)|
|Salade de legumes d'hiver|
Things stayed on a high note with the main plates. I happily went with the one fish dish on the menu, the pave de lieu jaune, replete with the chapelure de pain brulee, cauliflower mousseline, and bouillon parmesan - the combination hit the spot. Co. perked up with the scallops dish, St. Jacques d'Erquy, with fenouil de cafe and mousse d'oursine. I remember reading a comment online from a dissatisfied diner who claimed to have been served unfresh scallops - no problem in that regard for Co.
|Lieu jeune - terrible photo, I know, but sometimes with food porn, you've got to live with grainy.|
|St. Jacques d'Erquy (+5)|
Desserts hit the hat trick.
|Biscuits russes (me, the sucker for anything pralinee)|
|Mousee au chocolate - not what you'd expect (in a good way, with black olives)|
All told, with the two 'menus,' the supplements, a reasonably priced Pinot noir (25€), and one espresso (2€), the whole shebang came to a respectable 104€. By dessert time, the St. Valentine's vultures - the ones with reservations for the 9:30 second seating - had begun to hover in the foyer and things got about as unromantic as possible. The waitresses were stressed, the first sitting diners were lingering (me, over a cafe), and who knows what from the patrons who casually arrived a good half hour after us. Not exactly the best ambiance, I grant you. It may not be your candlelit lover's hideaway, and it may be spatially challenged, but as long as the food stays this good, they'll keep a-comin'.
8 rue Hippolyte Lebas
01 53 20 88 70
website: don't think so.